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How to install Bazzite Linux on Steamdeck

Valve’s SteamOS represents a remarkable achievement. It’s impressive to see a mainstream gaming developer offer a console operating system based on Arch Linux. However, SteamOS has its limitations. While it’s user-friendly for those new to Linux, it doesn’t offer as much freedom compared to other Linux distributions.

The Steam Deck is a fully-equipped Linux PC, boasting a powerful CPU, a capable GPU, and ample RAM. Yet users are restricted from modifying the system (unless developer mode is enabled), and each update resets any changes made by the user.

For those who wish to fully enjoy their Steam Deck and Valve’s excellent UI, but also want to run applications like Docker containers or use it as their primary workstation, Bazzite is a more suitable choice.

What exactly is Bazzite? It’s an operating system built upon Fedora Silverblue/Kinoite, utilizing RPM-OSTree for atomic upgrades and stable, version-controlled system management. This approach enables Bazzite to deploy and roll back updates smoothly, ensuring peak system stability and convenience for the user.

The Hero image for Bazzite.

How to download Bazzite Linux

Bazzite Linux is an open-source project, primarily available for download on GitHub. To access the latest version, navigate to the Bazzite GitHub project page and look for the “Releases” section.

Once in the “Releases” section, scroll to the bottom of the release notes to find the included attachments. Here, locate the Bazzite ISO file and click to initiate the download through your web browser.

For Linux desktop users, there’s a convenient method to download the Bazzite ISO directly from the terminal:

cd ~/Downloads
wget https://github.com/ublue-os/bazzite/releases/download/v2.1.0/bazzite-39-x86_64-20231213.iso

The download process should be relatively quick since the ISO file isn’t very large. Once complete, you will have the latest version of Bazzite Linux downloaded and ready for use.

Creating a Bazzite installation USB or SD card

The Etcher home page.

To install Bazzite on your Steam Deck, you’ll need to create a bootable SD card or USB device. Begin by downloading the Etcher application from its official website.

After accessing the Etcher website, download and install the application compatible with your Windows PC, MacOS, or Linux computer. Then, open Etcher and follow these step-by-step instructions to create a bootable Bazzite installer:

  1. Click on the “Flash from file” button in Etcher. Browse for the previously downloaded Bazzite ISO file using the pop-up tool. Selecting this ISO allows Etcher to set itself up for flashing.
  2. Insert your SD card or USB flash drive into your computer. Click on “Select target” in Etcher and choose your device from the menu. Etcher will then prepare to install the ISO onto this device.
  3. Press the “Flash!” button to start the flashing process. Be patient, as this may take some time.

After Etcher completes the process, safely eject the SD card or USB drive from your computer. Next, insert it into your Steam Deck and power off the device.

To boot from the installation medium, turn off your Steam Deck and hold the Power button and the “-” button simultaneously until you hear a tone. Release the Power button but continue holding the “-” button until the SteamDeck bootloader appears.

In the bootloader, select the boot manager and choose to boot from your SD card or USB drive. This action will launch the Bazzite installer on your Steam Deck.

How to install Bazzite Linux

Once you boot from the Bazzite USB on your Steam Deck, you’ll encounter several options. To install this operating system on the Steam Deck, use your keyboard’s arrow keys to select ‘bazzite-deck.’ Alternatively, if you prefer the Gnome environment, choose ‘bazzite-deck-gnome.’

After selecting your desired desktop environment, the Bazzite installation tool will launch, presenting you with the familiar Fedora Linux installation interface. Begin by selecting your preferred language and clicking the ‘Continue’ button.

Next, navigate to ‘Installation Destination’ and choose the Steam Deck’s internal hard drive as your target. Confirm your choice by clicking ‘Done.’ Once the drive is set up, proceed to ‘Root Account’ where you can set a root password, though this step is optional.

With the root password set, move to ‘Network & Host Name.’ Here, connect your Steam Deck to your WiFi network or attach an Ethernet cable to your Deck dock. Also, set a hostname for your Steam Deck.

Fedora 39 Beta is installing to the computer.

Having connected to a network and set the hostname, go to the ‘User Creation’ section. Here, create your user account and its password. Click ‘Done’ after completing the setup of your user and password.

With all settings configured, locate the ‘Begin Installation’ button and click on it to start installing Bazzite on your Steam Deck.

The Bazzite SteamOS game mode is being displayed on Steam Deck.

Be patient as the installation takes some time. Once it’s finished, remove the USB drive and reboot the Steam Deck. Bazzite will require some time to boot up initially. After it boots, you can log into your Deck and start using it as usual.

The Bazzite KDE Desktop is being displayed on Steam Deck.

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